Quash Renamo threat


AN economic revival in neighbouring Mozambique spurred by bumper coal and gas discoveries two decades after the end of a civil war could be derailed by renewed insurgency from disgruntled Renamo guerrillas.

Elsewhere in this edition, we carry a story of Mozambique’s armed forces attacking a camp of Renamo rebels in the centre of the country where “bandits” terrorised civilians on the road last month, breaking up the base of about 50 huts close to the country’s main north-south highway early on Saturday.

This is bad news for Zimbabwe, which shares a 1 231km border with Mozambique.

The threat of armed conflict across the border is unsettling for Zimbabwe and warrants vigilance and high alertness.

The violence in Mozambique should not be allowed to spill over into Zimbabwe.

Since the threat by opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama to destabilise Mozambique, Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields, 400km east of Harare, have been seen as a potential flashpoint for conflict.

Zimbabwe must secure its 287km-long Feruka pipeline from Beira in Mozambique to the oil refinery just outside Mutare.

At least 21km of the Feruka pipeline is under Zimbabwean control while Mozambique’s Companhiado Pipeline Mozambique-Zimbabwe Company controls the rest.

The threatened Mozambique insurgency could scuttle a second fuel pipeline that Zimbabwe was building from Savana, 50km north of Beira to Msasa.

We have no qualms about Renamo’s demands, they have genuine concerns, they feel they have not benefited from the post-conflict dividend.

A renewed threat by the ex-rebel Renamo opposition party to paralyse central rail and road links has put the Frelimo government on tenterhooks and alarmed diplomats and investors.

This is also worry for ordinary Zimbabweans.

A slide back into the kind of all-out war that crippled the former Portuguese southern African colony between 1975 and 1992 is increasingly becoming real, threatening the neighbouring country’s  rebirth as an attractive tourism and investment destination.

It need not be this way.

There is a risk Mozambique could descend into chaos after Dhlakama and his Renamo soldiers threatened to topple the ruling administration, and seize the country if President Armando Guebuzza’s administration does not revise a 1992 peace accord entered with the then president, Joaquim Chissano so as to integrate more Renamo fighters in the armed forces and in other State institutions.

Dhlakama has decamped from his residence in the northern city of Nampula with 700 former Renamo guerrillas to the central district of Gorongosa, near his old guerrilla base at Casa Banana to spearhead a rebellion. Dhlakama is referring to his new base as his “general staff headquarters”.

A lasting solution is required to keep the peace and maintain stability in the region.

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